ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge refinery wraps modernization program

Feb. 13, 2024

ExxonMobil Corp. has completed its previously announced multiyear modernization program to ensure long-term competitiveness of subsidiary ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Co.’s 523,000-b/d integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Baton Rouge, La. (OGJ Online, June 9, 2021).

Launched in 2021 and completed in mid-January 2024, the 3-year Baton Rouge Refinery Integrated Competitiveness (BRRIC) included a suite of projects designed to modernize the complex by improving processing capability, increasing flexibility for meeting energy market demand, advancing overall site competitiveness, and installing technology for a voluntary 10% reduction of volatile organic compound emissions, ExxonMobil said on Jan. 23.

Alongside construction of new mooring systems at the refinery’s Mississippi River dock to accommodate loading of larger marine cargoes for exporting products, the BRRIC also involved installation of various new technologies to enable better extraction of carbon solids from crude feedstock and expand capability of downstream units to process more crudes from around the world, including advantaged domestic crudes from Canada and the Permian basin.

In addition to installing new coke drums, ExxonMobil added a high-pressure decoke water valve to remove coke product from a 100-ft tall, 20-ft wide drum, as well as upgraded the site’s previous manual decoking process to an automated process via installation of coke drum slide valves that allow the process to be completed digitally with the push of a button, the company said.

Previously estimated at an overall investment of more than $240-million, the BRRIC’ structural, mechanical, and electrical projects collectively will contribute to improved safety and efficiency of refining operations, positioning the Baton Rouge refinery to better withstand global market challenges, support job retention, and help attract future refinery and chemical investments at the site (OGJ Online, Dec. 6, 2022).

While ExxonMobil did not reveal specific providers or technologies enlisted for the BRRIC, the operator confirmed $230.5 million of the program’s overall investment directly benefitted Louisiana via taxes and local supplier opportunities that included nearly 80 small and diverse businesses, 15% and 40% of which were Black-owned and women-owned, respectively.

Completion of the BRRIC projects also allowed ExxonMobil to preserve existing engineer, operator and technician jobs at the site, the company said.